For many California business owners, filing their first commercial insurance claim is an introduction to the world of liability and coverage beyond compliance. There is more to business insurance policies than simply obtaining them for the purpose of getting operating permits and loans. The unexpected can always happen to any company under various circumstances, and this is something most business owners only come to realize when they are required to file a claim. Here are the typical steps involved in the claims filing process.
Determine the Loss
A claim should only be filed when a business experiences an economic or legal loss that can be clearly established. Let’s say the owner of a café in San Diego fails to notice a spilled cup of tea that has created a falling hazard. Should a customer slip and fall due to this mishap, a loss would occur only if the customer files a lawsuit to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial damages. Similarly, if a rainstorm results in slight flooding of the café, a loss can only be established if equipment, furniture, or supplies were actually damaged, not if they simply needed to be dried off.
Contact Insurance Agents and Representatives
The work of insurance agents involves more than just providing premium quotes. If there has been an accident, incident, or any kind of loss at your business, your San Diego commercial insurance agent should be notified at once. Don’t believe the urban legend about insurance agents trying to talk business owners out of filing claims. The reality is your agent will assist you throughout the entire process, and the same can be said about insurance company representatives. The insurance industry is ultra-competitive, particularly regarding customer service, and thus you will surely get prompt assistance with the claims process.
The advice commonly given to drivers about not moving or even touching their cars after an accident does not apply to commercial insurance claims. If your business property or inventory has been damaged by fire, water, earthquakes, or work accidents, you should take all steps necessary to contain the damage and make emergency repairs whenever possible.
Document Damages and Economic Loss
Think about all factors of your business operation that have been impacted by the incident or accident. Everything should be properly documented in case the claims adjuster or processor requires it. When you notify your insurance agent about the situation, he or she will be able to recommend a claim strategy that taps into all the coverage and features your policies offer. For example, you may be entitled to business interruption payouts if a catastrophic fire forces you to stop operating for several weeks. Another example would be a data breach that compromised personal information of your clients and customers. In this case, you may be able to file a claim for reputation damage if you have adequate coverage.
If you need reliable commercial insurance, contact American Tri-Star today. We are also a leading provider of cheap San Diego car insurance. To speak with one of our friendly agents and receive a free quote, give us a call at 619-272-2100.